Mexican Fajita Steak Salad




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Mexican Steak Fajita Salad in a wooden bowl 2

Mexican Fajita Steak Salad ~ the combination of a cool crisp romaine salad with juicy steak and hot seared peppers and onions is hard to beat.  We’re making homemade fajita seasoning and homemade crunchy tortilla strips, too, so let’s get going!

Mexican Fajita Steak Salad in a wooden bowl

Pull up a fork for #8 (and last!) in my Main Course Salad Challenge, where I’ve been sharing a hearty main course salad every Wednesday to inspire you to go green once a week this season, and hopefully beyond.

No collection of main course salads would be near complete without a great steak salad. And with Cinco de Mayo coming up, I figured a Mexican theme was in order.  The combination of tender grilled steak with sweet peppers and onions, Mexican spices, and crunchy tortillas is really delish.  

Mexican Steak Fajita Salad in a wooden bowl 2

Here’s a recap of the main course salad recipes so far ~ they’re all great ways to lighten up your meal planning:

Main course Salad #1 ~ Salmon Cobb Salad

Main Course Salad #2 ~ Middle Eastern Chickpea Salad (balela salad)

Main Course Salad #3 ~ Shrimp Taco Salad

Main Course Salad #4 ~ Chopped Chef Salad with Creamy Sweet Onion Dressing

Main Course Salad #5 ~ Burger Salad Bowl

Main Course Salad #6 ~ Great Island Curried Chicken Salad Plate

Main Course Salad #7 ~ Spring Salad with Eggs and Creamy Tarragon Dressing

Spooning dressing on a Mexican Steak Fajita Salad

This salad only takes about 30 minutes from beginning to end, especially if you meal prep the components ahead of time.  This allows you to sear the veggies and steak just before serving to get that lovely combination of cool crisp lettuce and hot sizzling fajitas.

Mexican Steak Fajita Salad with dressing and cilantro

Fajitas are Tex-Mex in origin, dating back to the 1930s.  It’s a classic recipe developed by Mexican cowboys working on the ranches of Texas, where they’d receive the lesser cuts of beef, like skirt steak, as part of their pay.  Skirt steak inspired fajitas, which are tacos made with the seared steak, thinly sliced across the grain.  

You’ll recognize fajitas as those platters of  steak, peppers, and onions that come to your table flamboyantly sizzling and smoking in restaurants.  The Mexican vaqueros would have cooked their meat over an open fire, and that intense sear is a large part of the flavor experience.  During grilling season you can cook up your fajitas on a charcoal grill,  but I’ll just do it in a super hot pan on the stove.  Open up a couple of windows because it’s going to get smoking hot!

steak fajita salad with colorful peppers

For the crispy corn tortillas you can crush store bought or you can make your own, which I highly recommend.  Just slice up a couple of corn tortillas (yellow or white,) heat some oil in a skillet, and fry them for a few minutes, stirring often, until they turn golden.  Drain on paper towels and try to resist the urge to eat every last one before your salad is ready.

Peppers and onions for a Mexican Fajita Steak Salad

Is there anything better looking, or better tasting, than glossy seared peppers and onions?  (Remember my Sheet Pan Peppers and Brats?)  A quick hot searing softens them slightly, and brings out all their sweetness.  The different colors of bell peppers really do have different flavors and levels of sweetness, so I love to mix them.  Even regular supermarkets carry all colors now.  I didn’t buy any green this time, but I wish I had, they provide a little bit of pleasant bitterness for balance.  I sliced up a red jalapeño for extra heat, although my homemade fajita spice blend, below, packs some heat as well.  

Making homemade fajita spice mix

How to make homemade fajita seasoning ~

I use my own homemade fajita seasoning as a dry rub for the steak and a little bit more in the creamy dressing.  It’s easy to make yourself, and so much fresher and better than store bought.  I don’t know what the deal is with those packets, but they contain an insane amount of chemicals for something so simple.  

  • 2 tsp chili powder (I used chipotle chili powder)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (or sweet if you prefer)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (less for less heat)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

steak with homemade fajita seasoning

Ok, so this marks the end of the Main Course Challenge, hope you all liked it.  It was fun and useful for me to have a little bit of structure for my Wednesday posts for a while…sometimes there are so many things I want to make with you that it gets overwhelming.  I do love a great main course salad, so maybe we’ll make this an annual event.  There’s so much to gain from building in little healthy tweaks like this into our menu plans.

Tex-Mex fajita steak salad with homemade tortilla strips 

Instead of a heavy meat and potatoes dinner, this yummy fajita salad really hits the spot and is so much better for us.  And we still get to eat steak ;)


Reader Rave ~

“This salad is SO GOOD.   I will also be using your fajita blend in other recipes as well. Thanks for sharing it with us!”  ~ ML


 


Mexican Fajita Steak Salad
Rate this recipe
15 ratings

Category: dinner

Cuisine: American Tex-Mex

Servings: serves 4

Fajita Steak Salad in a wooden salad bowl

Mexican Fajita Steak Salad ~ the combination of a cool crisp romaine salad with juicy steak and hot seared peppers and onions is hard to beat.  

Ingredients

    salad
  • 7 ounces romaine hearts (or other crunchy lettuce)
  • 1 lb steak, I used boneless ribeye, but flank or skirt steak will work great. So will sirloin.
  • olive oil
  • 2 cups colorful bell pepper strips (about 2 peppers)
  • 1/2 red onion, cut in thin slices
  • 1 ear yellow corn
  • 1/4 cup black olives
  • a few small or cherry tomatoes, halved or cut in wedges
    tortilla strips
  • 2 corn tortillas
  • olive oil
  • salt
    dressing
  • 1/2 cup Mexican crema sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  • large handful fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp fajita seasoning
  • pinch salt
    fajita seasoning
  • 2 tsp chili powder (I used chipotle)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (or sweet if you prefer)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (less for less heat)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
    garnish
  • cilantro leaves
  • sliced jalapeños

Instructions

  1. To make the fried tortilla strips, slice the two tortillas in half and then into 1/4 inch strips.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and when it's hot, add the tortilla strips. Fry them for a few minutes, stirring and flipping often, until they're golden and crispy. Drain on paper towels and lightly season with salt.
  3. To make the fajita seasoning blend all the ingredients together well.
  4. To make the dressing put all into a small food processor and process until smooth. Taste to adjust anything.
  5. Pat the steak dry and rub on both sides with fajita seasoning. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet on high heat and when it is really hot, add the steak. Cook, on highest heat, for about 3 minutes per side, or until done the way you like it. Remove the steak and let rest under foil for 10 minutes.
  6. Wipe out the pan, add 1 more tablespoon oil, and, when it's nice and hot, sear the onions. Remove to a plate and do the same with the peppers (no need to wipe the pan again.)
  7. If you have a gas stove blister the corn right over the flame, carefully holding it with tongs until the kernels start to pop and char. If you don't have a gas burner, blister the corn in the hot skillet. Put the corn into the microwave for 2 minutes, just to take the raw edge off. Let cool until you can handle it, and then slice the kernels off the cob.
  8. Arrange the lettuce on the bottom of a large shallow salad bowl. Slice the steak against the grain into thin slices. Arrange the steak in the center of the salad, surrounded by the onions and peppers, corn, olives, tortilla strips, and tomatoes.
  9. Top with dressing, or serve the dressing on the side. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and sliced jalapeños.

 

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8 Comments

    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    ML
    May 5, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    This salad is SO GOOD.
    I will also be using your fajita blend in other recipes as well. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  • Reply
    Darlene
    April 25, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    This looks outrageous My kind of salad. Yes definitely revive the main salad recipes. Why wait until March? Why not start it right before the holidays when we want to lose weight? Anyway thanks for the recipes!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 25, 2019 at 4:04 pm

      I love the way you think Darlene! I’ll think about the pre-holiday slim down period, good idea!

  • Reply
    Ann-Marie
    April 24, 2019 at 7:49 am

    I have LOVED the main dish salad challenge! Thank you for the fun ideas. I look forward to trying this one!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 24, 2019 at 8:13 am

      Thanks Ann-Marie, I appreciate the support <3

  • Reply
    Tricia | Saving Room for Dessert
    April 24, 2019 at 4:50 am

    This is one gorgeous salad! I love fajitas so this is right up my alley. Your spice blend sounds wonderful – a must try!

  • Reply
    angiesrecipes
    April 24, 2019 at 3:11 am

    mmmm…can’t take my eyes off from that gorgeous steak! Have to try your homemade fajita blend!